While the Windows Media Player won't have built-in MP3 recording ability, three companies -- Taiwan's CyberLink Corp. , InterVideo and Ravisent Technologies -- will sell add-on software to do so, Microsoft said. Rival software, such as that from RealNetworks and privately held MusicMatch Inc., support high-quality MP3 recording without additional plug-ins. Another add-on will let people play DVDs from within the media player, Microsoft said.
Pricing of the add-ons has not been announced. Users would be directed to the software by links to the Internet within the media player, Microsoft said. The upcoming media player will also make it easier to manage a music library, transfer songs to a portable device, or record them on a CD, Microsoft said.
Microsoft also said while it was not out to undermine MP3, it did not think most customers cared which format they used as long as they could easily manage and access their music. Michael Aldridge, lead product manager for the division, also noted that enabling high-quality MP3 recording requires a license from the format's creators, Germany's Fraunhofer Institute. Aldridge did not elaborate, but analysts have speculated that Microsoft has not embraced MP3 recording to avoid paying licensing fees.